EPA to abandon restrictions against chemical linked to climate change
Green group, Dem lawmaker sue Trump to stop border wall
An environmental group is suing the Trump administration, saying its proposed wall along the southern border violates environmental law.
The Center for Biological Diversity filed the lawsuit along with Rep. Raúl Graijalva (D-Ariz.), saying the Department of Homeland Security is obligated to draft a new environmental review to examine the impacts of the wall and other border enforcement activities.
"Trump's border wall will divide and destroy the incredible communities and wild landscapes along the border," Kierán Suckling, the group's executive director, said in a Wednesday statement.
"Endangered species like jaguars and ocelots don't observe international boundaries and should not be sacrificed for unnecessary border militarization," he added.
"American environmental laws are some of the oldest and strongest in the world, and they should apply to the borderlands just as they do everywhere else," said Grijalva, who is co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and the top Democrat in the House Natural Resources Committee.
"Trump's wall - and his fanatical approach to our southern border - will do little more than perpetuate human suffering while irrevocably damaging our public lands and the wildlife that depend on them."
The green group says its lawsuit is the first against the border wall since President Trump signed an executive order in January to start building it.
The wall, along with dramatically increased border security, was a key campaign promise from Trump, who pledged that Mexico would pay for it. The Mexican government has thus far refused.
Greens have long been concerned that a border wall or fence would destroy habitats and cut off migration routes for the species that live near the United States-Mexico border.
A 2006 law gave Homeland Security wide-ranging authority over the border area and the ability to waive numerous legal requirements to keep the border safe.
But the Center for Biological Diversity said that the agency is still required to evaluate its environmental impacts.
The last review under the National Environmental Policy Act, which was a programmatic environmental impact statement, was completed in 2001. The group argues that major changes in border enforcement since then - such as the wall, thousands of new border agents and road construction - necessitate a new review.